Weather Updates

CTA, Pace to launch joint fare system Ventra in 2013

New VentrLogo

New Ventra Logo

storyidforme: 37619447
tmspicid: 13788614
fileheaderid: 6349246

Updated: October 29, 2012 6:50AM

There’s a new word entering Chicago’s transit jargon: Ventra. As in, “My Ventra Card is out of money.”

The CTA and Pace on Thursday announced a new card system that will allow customers to use one fare card on both public transit systems. It’ll replace your Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus by 2014.

The system will also allow you to use a credit or debit card to pay — if it’s equipped with a special chip.

The Ventra system — whose name is derived from the Latin word “ventus,” meaning “wind” — will launch next summer. Riders will be able to buy single ride, one-day, seven-day or monthlong Ventra passes; current discounts will still apply.

Customers in a rush will be able to tap either a Ventra card or a credit card to quickly board trains and buses. CTA officials say the system is much faster than inserting cash into machines for tickets or even using cards with magnetic strips like the agency’s Chicago Card or Chicago Card Plus.

You’ll also be able to use a Ventra Card like a debit account and add money to pay for everyday purchases, like shopping online or paying bills.

Eventually, officials said you will be able to pay with your cellphone, however, they offered no specifics Thursday.

But for those not wanting to use the technology, cash fares will still be accepted on all CTA and Pace buses.

CTA President Forrest Claypool says Ventra makes Chicago the first major American city to adopt an “open fare system” for transit.

The Illinois General Assembly last year passed legislation requiring a universal fare collection system by 2015.

Metra, however, is aiming to begin testing a new fare-collection system a year from now. That will be needed before a universal fare card is possible to get around via mass transit in Chicago and the suburbs.

© 2014 Sun-Times Media, LLC. All rights reserved. This material may not be copied or distributed without permission. For more information about reprints and permissions, visit To order a reprint of this article, click here.